My Wake-up Call To Preservation

Have you ever had one of those defining moments that remind you who you really are, and why you do what you do most hours of your day?

Last week, in the thick of my holiday portrait busyness, I received a call from a client who I knew for 16 years as my accountant. His daughter had just passed away, so he needed her portrait file to memorialize her in the weekend paper.

My heart stopped, and at once, I heard the voice of my deceased mentor Lou, defending his collection of client archives from the 1960's. Despite my respect for age, antiques and preservation, it didn't seem very cost-effective to warehouse images that just sat there.

"We aren't just doing this for the money, we are historians that remember the value of our work, long before it's realized by our clients. Most people won't realize the value of what we created until long after we delivered their orders."

 Call it a coincident, but within a few days of that lecture, I found myself digging through a 1969 box for the same reason I was about to open my own 2007 archives.

My priorities shifted in a heart-over-head moment of absolute purpose. I dropped what I was doing and pulled the archives. To see and feel the look in his eyes as he watched me prepare the image to submit, I woke up to the value of my work.

As a photographer in the era where "good enough" image quality became the sub-standard norm, I've joined thousands of "mom 'n pop" portrait studios in witnessing the unfortunate demise of our industry.

Editing, filing and archiving systems are a huge expense for a true professional. What used to be a box full of negatives on a hidden closet shelf or attic, is now a hard drive that we pray to remain readable or not be stolen by thievery or nature.

House fires prompt a bravery to seek out all living beings to free them from harm. Hurricanes wipe out all "things" that we posses. Loved ones pass, and similarly they drive us to the same longing to have a permanent memory of what was. Something that stops the clock, and allows us to remember how we got here, who we were with and yes, who we are in the sad case of dementia.

Printed photographs remind us to savor, love and my greater hope - PRINT!

December Specials for ALL occasions
The word of the year for 2013?.. Selfie - "A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smart phone or web cam and uploaded to a social media website."

While that may be adequate for the news-of-the-day snapshots on our social media pages, take note of the sad rise of Alzheimer's Disease.

Having photographs to hang, if only for dementia recovery is important. It doesn't need to be our professional family portrait to mean the world to us. In times of reflection, when we shut off devices and close the lids on our laptops, those images that we can just pause to stare at - long enough to bring someone back to life in our hearts in a way that our busy minds cannot hold focus on.

Should this be something that you wish to share with a loved one, or gift to your future self, be sure to check out our December Specials.

I wish you the most amazing and memorable holiday season of your life. Take lots of pictures, back them up, pick a few favorites to print and share them!  We are not in this form forever, and one day someone may bring you back to life by simply looking at and remembering their dear YOU!
Brian GerathsComment